Buy or Sigh


Marc Cox of Mishon Mackay takes a look at what property buyers can expect in 2014 and offers some timely words of advice.

2014 looks like it may well be a year for the seller. In many parts of the South East property stocks are already dwindling and there are pockets with very little available. Demand has outstripped supply that prices are edging up. Estate agents often get the blame for pushing up prices. But it is buyers who set the pace. Whichever way you cut it a property is still only worth what someone is prepared to pay for it.

So here are just a few things to take into account if you are keen to move home this year.

By all means keep your eye on the big property portals like Rightmove and Zoopla. But by the time a new property hits those sites it could well be too late – there may be several people ahead of you in the queue. That is because they know what is coming on to the market due to the agent calling them in the first instance. So it is essential for you to get to know the good agents in the area and ensure that you stay in regular contact with them. Make your estate agent your friend not your foe.

Make sure you are in a good position to buy. If you have a property to sell then get it on the market and hopefully have it under offer. If you were choosing between one buyer with a house to sell or another who had already sold which would you choose?

Be very careful of gazumping. Outbidding on a property where a deal has already been agreed may seem clever. But it so often leads to misery. First, the original buyer may top your offer. Second, if the owner is prepared to go back on the original deal to take a better offer he could well do the same again with you. Gazumping is not illegal but many would agree it is far from moral. Take it from someone who knows – avoid gazumping like the plague.

This year we will see many more initial asking price offers. Yet some buyers, still believing that they can wait or make silly low offers, will be left behind. So do the best thing that you can do, enlist the help of an agent who experienced the market the last time this happened – and preferably the time before that.

But all this still doesn’t mean that sellers can slap on any old price for their properties and expect a stampede. Buyers may be keen but they are certainly not desperate and definitely not stupid.

Happy New Year and happy house hunting.Marc Cox